Traveling to me is not necessarily a vacation. In traveling, yes there are vacation-like aspects, just as there can be vacation-like aspects wherever one is. A weekend at home can be a vacation for some, whether it is relaxing at home or going out on an excursion of some sort that they would not be able to do during their regular schedule. You can make anything a vacation, just like you can make anything work. I like to make everything an opportunity to learn and grow as a human being, not as an American, but as a citizen of the world. I feel it is important to experience as much of the world as possible. Traveling to me is a way of life. Time is spent seeking out knowledge and experiences of other people and their cultures. Sure, when I go to Fiji or Hawaii, I will certainly use an afternoon or two to soak up a sun burn, just as long as the people don’t cook and serve me with the other lobsters. HA! But even when snorkeling or eating/drinking, I am making a conscious effort to learn. When I go anywhere, I am actively seeking insight into other peoples’ lives, their lifestyle habits, their psyche, their interests, and their outlooks. Psychology much? It is important to me to see and do things tourists typically do, but it is more important for me to involve myself in the things, foods, places, etc. that make that area what it is to those who actually live there, even if (ESPECIALLY if) they are experienced by less nonnative people. The only way for me to truly get the most of an experience in a different culture is to experience as much of the native lifestyle as possible and experience as much of the things that inspire the native people and the culture itself.
And now of course wherever I go, I go with my clown nose in an easily accessible spot on my person because life is too short to not bring joy to others (even through unconventional ways hehe). And as Patch Adamds said, “95% (99?) of behavior is acceptable while wearing a nose.” My grad school plans in clinical psychology will always be in my life plan, as will travelling, even if the order of life events don’t match up to the original plan. I discussed how I am okay with plans changing here (What am I Doing?). I feel I would be a much stronger asset to the clinical psychology world if I have a more well-rounded, worldly, and versatile life. I plan to move forward in my life that way. It is amazing what even just two weeks of fully immersing yourself into a project (Peru-Belen Festival) much bigger than you can allow the unconscious to figure out and have waiting for you upon returning “home”. And so I work to save up money for my next adventure, be it a master’s program or Antarctica. I will give you a hint..it’s Antarctica.